General

Milà i el Renaixement: dels Visconti als Sforza

Milà era la ciutat més gran de la Itàlia del segle XV; controlava les rutes comercials que creuaven els Alps cap a França i nord d’Europa. Havia estat un important centre administratiu de l’Imperi romà: Constantí hi va signar l’Edicte de Milà el 313 (amb el qual el cristianisme esdevenia la religió oficial de l’imperi). El bisbe sant Ambròs (374-397) va aconseguir que Milà fos un centre influent a l’època paleocristiana. Milà i Pavia esdevingueren el cor del regne llombard del Sacre Imperi. La catedral de Milà (iniciada cap el 350) era tan antiga i gran com la basílica de sant Pere (aixecada per Constantí a Roma). L’església de sant Ambròs havia estat reedificada a partir del segle IX per oferir un marc adient al cerimonial imperial (l’església de sant Llorenç fou la capella palatina de la cort imperial).

Esdevingué independent de l’Imperi arran la Pau de Constança[1] (1138). Però aquesta autonomia va provocar un conflicte entre la vella noblesa imperial i una nova i poderosa classe mercantil[2]. Les guerres civils foren guanyades per la noblesa, que, sota el lideratge de l’arquebisbe Ottone Visconti varen imposar un govern aristocràtic a Milà el 1277. L’elecció de Matteo Visconti com a Capitano el 1287 va marcar l’inici del seu govern dinàstic. Va estendre els seus dominis i autoritat i, a finals del segle XIV, havia establert lligams de parentiu amb les cases regnants del nord d’Europa (Galeazzo II (1355-1378) va casar una filla seva amb el fill d’Eduard II d’Anglaterra, i un fill amb la filla de Joan II de França, i una neta amb el fill de Carles V de França –aquesta  fou la base de les pretensions franceses sobre Milà el 1499).

castell_Visconti

Castell Visconti, edificat per Matteo Visconti (1250-1322) a Pavia el 1290 i presidit per les imponents torres, amb muralles amb merlets i envoltat per un fossat amb un pont llevadís fortificat. Era una de les formes més impressionants d’exhibir el poder cortesà a Itàlia. Les seves habitacions estaven decorades amb escenes de caça, justes i altres entreteniments cortesans. Proporciona pel seu aspecte, decoració i mobiliari una prova evident dels seus vincles polítics i culturals amb les corts del nord d’Europa.

castell_Visconti2

Giangaleazzo Visconti, de1385 a 1402, va dur a terme un seguit de campanyes militars per estendre la seva autoritat pel nord d’Itàlia (conquerí Verona i Vicenza el 1387, i Pàdua, Bassano i Belluno el 1388) i cap el sud (el 1402 controlava Perugia, Assís, Pisa i Siena), i va morir mentre assetjava Florència. Els humanistes florentins condemnaven aquestes ambicions imperialistes; però els humanistes milanesos exaltaven el propòsit d’establir una monarquia italiana[3]. L’emperador Wenceslau li va concedir el títol de duc de Milà el 1395. Va organitzar una administració centralitzada i va crear un consell privat similar al dels governs monàrquics de França i Anglaterra[4]. La seva cort estava feta a imatge de les del nord d’Europa i a l’igual que elles, la seva cultura cavalleresca estava explícitament associada amb l’ethos militar del règim aristocràtic i no amb els valors mercantils promoguts a Florència o a Venècia. Va finançar un seguit de projectes per tal de palesar el seu poder (catedrals de Como i Monza, el monestir cartoixà La Certosa a Pavia, la finalització del castell de Pavia, la catedral de Milà…).

giangaleazzo_ViscontiGiangaleazzo Visconti (1351-1402) Certosa

Façana de la Certosa, Pavia. Iniciat el 1396                           Conjunt del monestir

Monza_Como

Catedral de Monza                                                Catedral de Como

domini_Visconti

Una de les manifestacions de poder i prestigi que va fer Giangaleazzo fou la de reemplaçar l’antiga catedral paleocristiana de Milà per un edifici modern. I va optar per l’estil gòtic flamíger de les grans esglésies del nord d’Europa, ignorant les tradicions locals. Iniciada el 1386, aquesta elecció va originar molts problemes, però no d’estil o estètics, sinó per les innovacions tècniques estructurals que comportava: els constructors del nord d’Europa sabien aprofitar el potencial que oferia la combinació d’arcs apuntats, voltes de creueria i contraforts amb arcbotants per crear una estructura que suportaria el pes de l’edifici. Els mestres francesos i alemanys contractats pel duc intentaren construir una nau central i diverses naus laterals més baixes amb contraforts que actuaven com estabilitzadors; però la mà d’obra local estava habituada a un sistema d’estructures més tradicional basat en l’ús de gruixuts murs de pedra tallada i pensava que una nau més baixa suportada per naus laterals seria més sòlida. El conflicte entre operaris estrangers i locals va esclatar. El resultat és un edifici que, tot i voler ser gòtic, el seu perfil rabassut palesa la incapacitat dels mestres locals per fer-se càrrec de les tècniques estructurals gòtiques.catedral_Mila

La catedral de Milà, 1386-1510

A la mort de Giangaleazzo el seu imperi es va anar desfent. Després del govern del seu fill Giovanni Maria (1402-1412), el va succeir un altre fill, Filippo Maria (1412-1447), el qual va seguir amb els projectes ducals iniciats pel seu pare (en particular, el Duomo i la Certosa) i va traslladar la seva cort al Castello de Milà (el Castello Sforzesco[5]) on Pisanello, un dels artistes més destacats del gòtic internacional, hi va pintar diversos frescos (perduts) i va dissenyar una medalla[6] retrat de Filippo Maria. Va contractar humanistes (Candido Decembrio[7] i Francesco Filelfo[8]) per tal que fessin propaganda d’un règim gens popular, els quals lloaren els beneficis del govern monàrquic enfront de la menor estabilitat que oferia el govern electiu de Florència, així com el seu patrocini de les arts com a prova del poder i el prestigi dels Visconti, i van justificar la seva extravagància mitjançant la concepció aristotèlica de la magnificència com una virtut essencial dels homes més rics i poderosos[9].

castello_Sforzesco                                Façana exterior del Castello Sforzesco

castello_Sforzesco2Pati d’armes del Castello Sforzesco

Filippo_Maria_ViscontiAnvers de la medalla amb el retrat de Filippo Maria Visconti, Duc de Milà, obra de Pisanello. Pinacoteca del Castello Sforzesco, Milà.

Filippo Maria Visconti va morir sense hereu i entre els qui reclamaven la successió es trobava el condottiero[10] Francesco Sforza, casat amb la filla il·legítima del duc, Bianca Maria. Però la noblesa milanesa va prendre la iniciativa i va instaurar una nova república. El castell de Milà i altres símbols dels Visconti foren destruïts. Aquest buit de poder va propiciar que moltes ciutats sotmeses deixessin de pagar impostos, la rica burgesia milanesa tampoc estava disposada a pagar-los, els desordres es multiplicaren, fins que l’elit dominant va atorgar el poder a Francesco Sforza (1450-1466), el quan va consolidar el seu poder amb concessions als nobles que li havien donat suport i amb aliances amb governs estrangers. Nous projectes arquitectònics li havien de servir per donar expressió visual al seu nou poder i prestigi. Pel que fa a política exterior, abandona els lligams tradicionals amb el nord d’Europa i es vincula amb altres ciutats italianes, en particular amb Florència (Cosme de Mèdici tenia molt interès a obrir una sucursal del seu banc a Milà: la necessitat de préstecs per part de Sforza per finançar les seves obres per legitimar el seu poder estrenyia els lligams amb els Mèdici que li oferien crèdit fàcil[11]).

El problema més apressant per a Sforza era legitimar la seva posició. Per fer-ho, va subratllar els seus lligams amb els Visconti, va falsificar una escriptura on s’afirmava que el seu sogre li havia atorgat el poder, els humanistes enaltien les seves conquestes, i va adoptar símbols i un programa de projectes arquitectònics, escultòrics i pictòrics per exhibir la seva nova autoritat i testimoniar els seus lligams amb el règim dels Visconti (nou sistema de canals i rescloses, construcció de l’Ospedale Maggiore, continuació del Duomo de Milài la Certosa de Pavia, es va traslladar al castell de Giangaleazzo Visconti a Pavia), i va assumir la construcció de diversos convents, tots ells associats amb el creixent moviment de reforma de l’església (jerònims, eremites agustins, dominics observants, amadeïtes, un grup reformat de l’orde de Frares Menors Conventuals). Però els seus projectes religiosos no mostraven cap canvi d’estil respecte els seus predecessors Visconti. Els arcs apuntats de Santa Maria delle Grazie, Santa Maria Incoronata i la Certosa eren gòtics: la continuïtat visual era, doncs, un element clau per subratllar els seus drets a governar.

santa_Maria_Grazie_Incoronata

Interior de Santa Maria delle Grazie                                Interior de Santa Maria Incoronata

A Francesco el va succeir el seu fill de 21 anys Galeazzo Maria Sforza (1466-1476) que es va envoltar dels atributs externs del prestigi principesc (la seva cort es feu famosa pels seus extravagants entreteniments i exhibicions). Va morir assassinat. Va seguir el programa artístic dels seus predecessors i, per tant, el seu estil. A més, va concedir molta importància als retrats com a mitjà per indicar la complexa jerarquia de la seva cort. A la seva mort va deixar com hereu el seu fill de 7 anys Giangaleazzo; aprofitant aquesta precària situació, un tiet seu, Ludovico Sforza es va fer amb el control del consell, es va casar amb  Beatrice d’Este, germana de l’esposa de Francesco Gonzaga, Isabella d’Este i va convèncer l’emperador Maximilià que es casés amb una neboda a canvi d’una dot de 400.000 ducats i més de 100.000 ducats en regals de valor: a canvi, era reconegut com a cap del ducat de Milà.

ospedale_maggiore                        Ospedale Maggiore de Milà, iniciat el 1456

Un dels grans projectes de Ludovico fou la construcció d’un gegantí monument eqüestre del seu pare en bronze. Dos famosos condottieri venecians (Gattamelata i Colleoni) tenien dues estàtues de bronze. Leonardo va assumir aquest encàrrec el 1490. Tanmateix, el model d’argila mai esdevingué estàtua de bronze. El sistema de patronatge, disseny, construcció i decoració dels projectes de Ludovico seguia el mateix model dels seus predecessors i volia contractar als millors. Per això trobem a Bramante treballant a Milà; però si Lorenzo de Mèdici i Ercole d’Este controlaven personalment el disseny dels seus projectes, Ludovico ho va haver de deixar a mans d’un expert, el qual es responsabilitzava de l’aparença final dels edificis: vet aquí un pas molt significatiu en el desenvolupament professional de l’arquitecte modern.

Leonardo va enviar una carta a Ludovico demanant feina i es presentava com hàbil dissenyador de màquines militars (ponts, canons, explosius, transports) que era el que Ludovico tenia en consideració. Els encàrrecs que va rebre Leonardo a Milà foren els típics d’un pintor de cort: un retrat d’una amant de Ludovico (Cecilia Gallerani), decoracions efímeres per a festes cortesanes, projectes militars. La Confraria de la Immaculada Concepció li va encarregar un retaule, La Marededéu de les Roques. La seguretat d’un treball fix li va permetre experimentar. Els frescos a l’oli han resultat desastrosos però la tècnica del sfumato fou una important innovació.

Cecilia_GalleraniLeonardo da Vinci (1452-1519): Retrat de Cecilia Gallerani (Dona amb ermini), 1483-90. Oli sobre taula. 55 x 40 cm. Czartoryski Museum, Cracòvia

marededeu_roques

Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519): La Marededéu de les roques, 1483-1499. Oli sobre taula traspassat a tela el 1806 per Hacquin. 199 x 122 cm. Musée du Louvre, París.

Per què Ludovico ja no segueix els estils dels seus predecessors? Perquè volia aprofitar el potencial de la cultura de la Roma imperial per a proporcionar una iconografia adient al seu govern. Recordem que Milà havia estat un important centre de l’Imperi romà i, a més, la capital de l’Imperi paleocristià. Ludovico va adoptar aquesta temàtica imperial. Així va encarregar que Leonardo decorés la Salla delle Asse en el castell de Milà amb arbres i vegetació (repintada el 1901) imitant l’escenografia que es pintava en els palaus romans descrits per Plini. Bramante va dissenyar una canònica d’ordre corinti per a sant Ambròs i dos claustres, un jònic i l’altre dòric. La cripta de Bramante per al Duomo de Pavia fou edificada amb voltes de carabassa seguint una tipologia que podia veure’s a la vil·la de l’emperador Adrià a Trípoli. Observem Santa Maria delle Grazie: iniciada per Francesco Sforza té una nau gòtica; en canvi, l’ampliació de la capella major té formes rotundes i arcs de mig punt. És en el refetor d’aquest convent on Leonardo hi va pintar el Sant sopar (1496-1497), on no es mostra la institució de l’Eucaristia sinó el moment que Crist anuncia que un deixeble el trairà. La separació dels apòstols en quatre grups diferents reflectia la divisió  dels cors en triples, alts, tenors i baixos per expressar així l’interès per la música de la cort dels Sforza.

cenacoloLeonardo da Vinci: El Sant sopar, 1495-1498. Tremp d’ou i oli sobre guix. 460 × 880 cm. Santa Maria delle Grazie, Milà.

Milà havia estat governada pels néts de Giangaleazzo Visconti per espai de més de trenta anys quan, el 1498, el tercer d’aquests néts fou coronat com Lluís XII rei de França. I va reclamar els seus drets a la successió a Milà. El 1499 els seus exèrcits van treure del poder a la dinastia Sforza.


[1] Tractat firmat a la ciutat de Constança entre l’emperador Frederic I Barbaroja i les ciutats de la Lliga Llombarda.

En el marc del intents imperials per obtenir el control efectiu d’Itàlia, la completa derrota de les tropes imperials a la batalla de Legnano (1176), va forçar a Frederic a signar la Pau de Venècia (1177) per la qual va reconèixer a Alexandre III com a papa legítim i va acordar una treva de sis anys (1177-1183) amb les ciutats italianes. La situació es va resoldre en finalitzar la treva, quan ambdues parts van signar la Pau de Constança, definint les relacions entre elles.

L’acord reconeixia a l’emperador la sobirania suprema i les regalies (drets de peatge, tarifes, monedatge, impostos punitius col·lectius, i la investidura -elecció i destitució- dels detentors de càrrecs públics) quan aquest es trobés a Itàlia. Així, formalment, les ciutats italianes es reconeixien vassalles de l’emperador.

Al mateix temps, reconeixia a les ciutats el dret de construir muralles, de governar-se a sí mateixes (i el seu territori circumdant) triant lliurement els seus magistrats, de constituir una lliga i de conservar els costums que tenien “des dels temps antics”. Així doncs, Barbaroja reconeixia de fet les llibertats i privilegis de les comunes italianes.

[2] Lauro Martines (1988). Power and Imagination: City States in Renaissance Italy. Londres. Johns Hopkins University Press. 370 pàgs.

[3] Hans Baron (1966). The Crisis of the Early Italian Renaissance. Princeton New Jersey. Princeton University Press. 584 pàgs. Cfr. Sobretot Cap. 2, pàg. 25-42.

[4] Mesquita, D.M.D. (1989). «The Privy Council in the Government of the Dukes of Milan», a Craig Hugh Smyth, Gian Carlo Garfagnini (1989). Florence and Milan: Comparisons and Relations. Actes de dues conferències a Villa I Tatti, 1982-1984. Florència. Vol. I, Harvard University. Center for Italian Renaissance Studies. La Nuova Italia editrice.  pàgs. 136-138

[5] Veure el tour virtual pel castell, així com la Pietat Rondanini de  Miquel Àngel  a  http://www.milanocastello.it/intro.html

[6] Les medalles, molt populars a Itàlia, sobretot a les corts de Ferrara i Màntua, reflectien el creixent interès per la cultura de la Roma imperial com a precedent del seu poder absolut.

[7] Els principals estudis de conjunt sobre Pier Candido Decembrio són M. Borsa, «Pier Candido Decembrio e l’umanesimo in Lombardia», Archivo storico lombardo, XX (1893), pp. 5-75. E. Ditt, «Pier Candido Decembrio. Contributo alla storia dell’umanesimo italiano», Memorie del R. Istituto Lombardo de Scienze e Lettere, II ser. 24-25 [1931-1932]. V. Zaccaria, «Sue opere di Pier Candido Decembrio». Rinascimento, VII (1956), pp. 13-78.

[8] Consultar Jacques Lafaye (2005). Por amor al griego. La nación europea, señorío humanista. Siglos XIV-XVII. Mexico. F.C.E. pp. 212-214 i 359

Francesco Filelfo, Juan Gil (1989). Satiras de Filelfo: Biblioteca Colombina, 7-1-13. Ediciones Alfar. 319 pp.

[9] Jenkins A.D. Fraser, «Cosimo de Medici’s Patronage of architecture and the Theory of Magnificence, JWCI 33 (1970), pp. 166-169. En línia a http://www.jstor.org/stable/750894. «This Aristotelian sense of Magnificence was current in Cosimo’s time, and was exploited by Francesco Filelfo in the Convivia Madiolanensia, written in Milan in 1443 and dedicated to Filippo Maria Visconti. Part of this dialogue is a discussion of the nature of Magnidicentia, a direct translation of Aristotle’s megaloprepeia

[10]És el nom que rebien els capitans de tropes mercenàries al servei de les ciutats-estat italianes des de finals de l’Edat Mitjana fins a mitjans del segle XVI. La paraula condottiero deriva de condotta, terme que designava al contracte entre el capità de mercenaris i el govern que llogava els seus serveis.

Els condottieri consideraven la guerra com un veritable art. No obstant això, els seus interessos no eren sempre els mateixos que els dels estats al servei dels quals estaven. Buscaven riquesa, fama i terres per a si, i no estaven lligats per llaços patriòtics a la causa per la qual lluitaven. Eren cèlebres per la seva falta d’escrúpols: podien canviar de bàndol si trobaven un millor postor abans o fins i tot durant la batalla. Conscients del seu poder, de vegades eren ells els quals imposaven condicions als seus suposats patrons.

[11] Els comptes de la banca Mèdici del 1459-1460 mostren que el 42 % dels beneficis del banc provenien de la venda de sedes, brocats i joies per a la cort de Sforza i dels interessos del préstec de 53.000 ducats. El 1476 el deute de Sforza pujava als 179.000 ducats. Cfr. Raymond de Roover (1999). The Rise and Decline of the Medici Bank. 1397-1494. Washington. Beard Books pp. 264-273.

Dr. Joan Campàs Montaner
jcampas@uoc.edu        Aura digital
Estudis d’Arts i Humanitats de la UOC

Materials del Curs L’art dels museus: els Uffizi
1. Desconstruint alguns mites del Renaixement
2. Les corts italianes: el context històric del Renaixement italià
3. Milà i el Renaixement: dels Visconti als Sforza
4. L’Urbino de Federico de Montefeltro

5. La Ferrara dels Este
6. La Màntua dels Gonzaga
7. El regne de Nàpols d’Alfons I
8. La Venècia dels dogo
9. Forència en el Renaixement (1)
10. Florència en el Renaixement: política i mecenatge
11. Els Mèdici, senyors de Florència
12. Giorgio Vasari: els Uffizi, 1560-1581
13. Maestro della Sant’Agata: Madonna de Pisa
14. Cimabue: Maestà di santa Trinità
15. Duccio: Palla Rucellai
16. Giotto: Madonna Ognissanti
17. Simone Martini: L’Anunciació
18. Gentile da Fabriano: Adoració dels mags
19. Lorenzo Monaco: La coronació de la marededéu
20. Fra Angèlic: Coronació de la marededéu
21. Paolo Uccello: La batalla de san Romano
22. Domenico Veneziano: Sacra conversazione
23. Piero della Francesca: Díptic del duc d’Urbino
24. Filippo Lippi: Coronació de la marededéu
25. Hugo van der Goes: Tríptic Portinari
26. Sandro Botticelli: Judit
27. Sandro Botticelli: L’adoració dels mags
28. Sandro Botticelli: La marededéu del magníficat
29. Sandro Botticelli: El naixement de Venus
30. Sandro Botticelli: Al·legoria de la primavera
31. Sandro Botticelli: Minerva i el centaure
32. Sandro Botticelli: L’anunciació Cestello
33. Sandro Botticelli: La calúmnia d’Apel·les
34. Leonardo da Vinci: L’anunciació
35. Leonardo da Vinci: Adoració dels reis
36. Giovanni Bellini: Al·legoria sacra
37. Miquel Àngel: Tondo Doni
38. Rafael: Madonna del cardellino
39. Ticià: La venus d’Urbino

97 comments

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  9. Apple now has Rhapsody as an app, which is a great start, but it is currently hampered by the inability to store locally on your iPod, and has a dismal 64kbps bit rate. If this changes, then it will somewhat negate this advantage for the Zune, but the 10 songs per month will still be a big plus in Zune Pass’ favor.

  10. Apple now has Rhapsody as an app, which is a great start, but it is currently hampered by the inability to store locally on your iPod, and has a dismal 64kbps bit rate. If this changes, then it will somewhat negate this advantage for the Zune, but the 10 songs per month will still be a big plus in Zune Pass’ favor.

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  12. This is getting a bit more subjective, but I much prefer the Zune Marketplace. The interface is colorful, has more flair, and some cool features like ‘Mixview’ that let you quickly see related albums, songs, or other users related to what you’re listening to. Clicking on one of those will center on that item, and another set of “neighbors” will come into view, allowing you to navigate around exploring by similar artists, songs, or users. Speaking of users, the Zune “Social” is also great fun, letting you find others with shared tastes and becoming friends with them. You then can listen to a playlist created based on an amalgamation of what all your friends are listening to, which is also enjoyable. Those concerned with privacy will be relieved to know you can prevent the public from seeing your personal listening habits if you so choose.

  13. Hands down, Apple’s app store wins by a mile. It’s a huge selection of all sorts of apps vs a rather sad selection of a handful for Zune. Microsoft has plans, especially in the realm of games, but I’m not sure I’d want to bet on the future if this aspect is important to you. The iPod is a much better choice in that case.

  14. This is getting a bit more subjective, but I much prefer the Zune Marketplace. The interface is colorful, has more flair, and some cool features like ‘Mixview’ that let you quickly see related albums, songs, or other users related to what you’re listening to. Clicking on one of those will center on that item, and another set of “neighbors” will come into view, allowing you to navigate around exploring by similar artists, songs, or users. Speaking of users, the Zune “Social” is also great fun, letting you find others with shared tastes and becoming friends with them. You then can listen to a playlist created based on an amalgamation of what all your friends are listening to, which is also enjoyable. Those concerned with privacy will be relieved to know you can prevent the public from seeing your personal listening habits if you so choose.

  15. Between me and my husband we’ve owned more MP3 players over the years than I can count, including Sansas, iRivers, iPods (classic & touch), the Ibiza Rhapsody, etc. But, the last few years I’ve settled down to one line of players. Why? Because I was happy to discover how well-designed and fun to use the underappreciated (and widely mocked) Zunes are.

  16. Sorry for the huge review, but I’m really loving the new Zune, and hope this, as well as the excellent reviews some other people have written, will help you decide if it’s the right choice for you.

  17. Apple now has Rhapsody as an app, which is a great start, but it is currently hampered by the inability to store locally on your iPod, and has a dismal 64kbps bit rate. If this changes, then it will somewhat negate this advantage for the Zune, but the 10 songs per month will still be a big plus in Zune Pass’ favor.

  18. I’ll gear this review to 2 types of people: current Zune owners who are considering an upgrade, and people trying to decide between a Zune and an iPod. (There are other players worth considering out there, like the Sony Walkman X, but I hope this gives you enough info to make an informed decision of the Zune vs players other than the iPod line as well.)

  19. If you’re still on the fence: grab your favorite earphones, head down to a Best Buy and ask to plug them into a Zune then an iPod and see which one sounds better to you, and which interface makes you smile more. Then you’ll know which is right for you.

  20. Apple now has Rhapsody as an app, which is a great start, but it is currently hampered by the inability to store locally on your iPod, and has a dismal 64kbps bit rate. If this changes, then it will somewhat negate this advantage for the Zune, but the 10 songs per month will still be a big plus in Zune Pass’ favor.

  21. Apple now has Rhapsody as an app, which is a great start, but it is currently hampered by the inability to store locally on your iPod, and has a dismal 64kbps bit rate. If this changes, then it will somewhat negate this advantage for the Zune, but the 10 songs per month will still be a big plus in Zune Pass’ favor.

  22. If you’re still on the fence: grab your favorite earphones, head down to a Best Buy and ask to plug them into a Zune then an iPod and see which one sounds better to you, and which interface makes you smile more. Then you’ll know which is right for you.

  23. This is getting a bit more subjective, but I much prefer the Zune Marketplace. The interface is colorful, has more flair, and some cool features like ‘Mixview’ that let you quickly see related albums, songs, or other users related to what you’re listening to. Clicking on one of those will center on that item, and another set of “neighbors” will come into view, allowing you to navigate around exploring by similar artists, songs, or users. Speaking of users, the Zune “Social” is also great fun, letting you find others with shared tastes and becoming friends with them. You then can listen to a playlist created based on an amalgamation of what all your friends are listening to, which is also enjoyable. Those concerned with privacy will be relieved to know you can prevent the public from seeing your personal listening habits if you so choose.

  24. I’ll gear this review to 2 types of people: current Zune owners who are considering an upgrade, and people trying to decide between a Zune and an iPod. (There are other players worth considering out there, like the Sony Walkman X, but I hope this gives you enough info to make an informed decision of the Zune vs players other than the iPod line as well.)

  25. Apple now has Rhapsody as an app, which is a great start, but it is currently hampered by the inability to store locally on your iPod, and has a dismal 64kbps bit rate. If this changes, then it will somewhat negate this advantage for the Zune, but the 10 songs per month will still be a big plus in Zune Pass’ favor.

  26. Hands down, Apple’s app store wins by a mile. It’s a huge selection of all sorts of apps vs a rather sad selection of a handful for Zune. Microsoft has plans, especially in the realm of games, but I’m not sure I’d want to bet on the future if this aspect is important to you. The iPod is a much better choice in that case.

  27. Between me and my husband we’ve owned more MP3 players over the years than I can count, including Sansas, iRivers, iPods (classic & touch), the Ibiza Rhapsody, etc. But, the last few years I’ve settled down to one line of players. Why? Because I was happy to discover how well-designed and fun to use the underappreciated (and widely mocked) Zunes are.

  28. If you’re still on the fence: grab your favorite earphones, head down to a Best Buy and ask to plug them into a Zune then an iPod and see which one sounds better to you, and which interface makes you smile more. Then you’ll know which is right for you.

  29. This is getting a bit more subjective, but I much prefer the Zune Marketplace. The interface is colorful, has more flair, and some cool features like ‘Mixview’ that let you quickly see related albums, songs, or other users related to what you’re listening to. Clicking on one of those will center on that item, and another set of “neighbors” will come into view, allowing you to navigate around exploring by similar artists, songs, or users. Speaking of users, the Zune “Social” is also great fun, letting you find others with shared tastes and becoming friends with them. You then can listen to a playlist created based on an amalgamation of what all your friends are listening to, which is also enjoyable. Those concerned with privacy will be relieved to know you can prevent the public from seeing your personal listening habits if you so choose.

  30. The Zune concentrates on being a Portable Media Player. Not a web browser. Not a game machine. Maybe in the future it’ll do even better in those areas, but for now it’s a fantastic way to organize and listen to your music and videos, and is without peer in that regard. The iPod’s strengths are its web browsing and apps. If those sound more compelling, perhaps it is your best choice.

  31. Between me and my husband we’ve owned more MP3 players over the years than I can count, including Sansas, iRivers, iPods (classic & touch), the Ibiza Rhapsody, etc. But, the last few years I’ve settled down to one line of players. Why? Because I was happy to discover how well-designed and fun to use the underappreciated (and widely mocked) Zunes are.

  32. If you’re still on the fence: grab your favorite earphones, head down to a Best Buy and ask to plug them into a Zune then an iPod and see which one sounds better to you, and which interface makes you smile more. Then you’ll know which is right for you.

  33. Hands down, Apple’s app store wins by a mile. It’s a huge selection of all sorts of apps vs a rather sad selection of a handful for Zune. Microsoft has plans, especially in the realm of games, but I’m not sure I’d want to bet on the future if this aspect is important to you. The iPod is a much better choice in that case.

  34. Between me and my husband we’ve owned more MP3 players over the years than I can count, including Sansas, iRivers, iPods (classic & touch), the Ibiza Rhapsody, etc. But, the last few years I’ve settled down to one line of players. Why? Because I was happy to discover how well-designed and fun to use the underappreciated (and widely mocked) Zunes are.

  35. The Zune concentrates on being a Portable Media Player. Not a web browser. Not a game machine. Maybe in the future it’ll do even better in those areas, but for now it’s a fantastic way to organize and listen to your music and videos, and is without peer in that regard. The iPod’s strengths are its web browsing and apps. If those sound more compelling, perhaps it is your best choice.

  36. Hands down, Apple’s app store wins by a mile. It’s a huge selection of all sorts of apps vs a rather sad selection of a handful for Zune. Microsoft has plans, especially in the realm of games, but I’m not sure I’d want to bet on the future if this aspect is important to you. The iPod is a much better choice in that case.

  37. If you’re still on the fence: grab your favorite earphones, head down to a Best Buy and ask to plug them into a Zune then an iPod and see which one sounds better to you, and which interface makes you smile more. Then you’ll know which is right for you.

  38. Hands down, Apple’s app store wins by a mile. It’s a huge selection of all sorts of apps vs a rather sad selection of a handful for Zune. Microsoft has plans, especially in the realm of games, but I’m not sure I’d want to bet on the future if this aspect is important to you. The iPod is a much better choice in that case.

  39. Hands down, Apple’s app store wins by a mile. It’s a huge selection of all sorts of apps vs a rather sad selection of a handful for Zune. Microsoft has plans, especially in the realm of games, but I’m not sure I’d want to bet on the future if this aspect is important to you. The iPod is a much better choice in that case.

  40. Zune and iPod: Most people compare the Zune to the Touch, but after seeing how slim and surprisingly small and light it is, I consider it to be a rather unique hybrid that combines qualities of both the Touch and the Nano. It’s very colorful and lovely OLED screen is slightly smaller than the touch screen, but the player itself feels quite a bit smaller and lighter. It weighs about 2/3 as much, and is noticeably smaller in width and height, while being just a hair thicker.

  41. Apple now has Rhapsody as an app, which is a great start, but it is currently hampered by the inability to store locally on your iPod, and has a dismal 64kbps bit rate. If this changes, then it will somewhat negate this advantage for the Zune, but the 10 songs per month will still be a big plus in Zune Pass’ favor.

  42. Sorry for the huge review, but I’m really loving the new Zune, and hope this, as well as the excellent reviews some other people have written, will help you decide if it’s the right choice for you.

  43. I’ll gear this review to 2 types of people: current Zune owners who are considering an upgrade, and people trying to decide between a Zune and an iPod. (There are other players worth considering out there, like the Sony Walkman X, but I hope this gives you enough info to make an informed decision of the Zune vs players other than the iPod line as well.)

  44. I’ll gear this review to 2 types of people: current Zune owners who are considering an upgrade, and people trying to decide between a Zune and an iPod. (There are other players worth considering out there, like the Sony Walkman X, but I hope this gives you enough info to make an informed decision of the Zune vs players other than the iPod line as well.)

  45. Apple now has Rhapsody as an app, which is a great start, but it is currently hampered by the inability to store locally on your iPod, and has a dismal 64kbps bit rate. If this changes, then it will somewhat negate this advantage for the Zune, but the 10 songs per month will still be a big plus in Zune Pass’ favor.

  46. Zune and iPod: Most people compare the Zune to the Touch, but after seeing how slim and surprisingly small and light it is, I consider it to be a rather unique hybrid that combines qualities of both the Touch and the Nano. It’s very colorful and lovely OLED screen is slightly smaller than the touch screen, but the player itself feels quite a bit smaller and lighter. It weighs about 2/3 as much, and is noticeably smaller in width and height, while being just a hair thicker.

  47. Thanks for discussing your ideas. I might also like to state that video games have been actually evolving. Modern tools and inventions have assisted create authentic and fun games. These kind of entertainment games were not that sensible when the real concept was first of all being attempted. Just like other kinds of technologies, video games also have had to advance via many many years. This itself is testimony on the fast growth and development of video games.

  48. I’m not sure exactly why but this blog is loading very slow for me. Is anyone else having this problem or is it a problem on my end? I’ll check back later and see if the problem still exists.

  49. I’ll gear this review to 2 types of people: current Zune owners who are considering an upgrade, and people trying to decide between a Zune and an iPod. (There are other players worth considering out there, like the Sony Walkman X, but I hope this gives you enough info to make an informed decision of the Zune vs players other than the iPod line as well.)

  50. The Zune concentrates on being a Portable Media Player. Not a web browser. Not a game machine. Maybe in the future it’ll do even better in those areas, but for now it’s a fantastic way to organize and listen to your music and videos, and is without peer in that regard. The iPod’s strengths are its web browsing and apps. If those sound more compelling, perhaps it is your best choice.

  51. I’ll gear this review to 2 types of people: current Zune owners who are considering an upgrade, and people trying to decide between a Zune and an iPod. (There are other players worth considering out there, like the Sony Walkman X, but I hope this gives you enough info to make an informed decision of the Zune vs players other than the iPod line as well.)

  52. I’ll gear this review to 2 types of people: current Zune owners who are considering an upgrade, and people trying to decide between a Zune and an iPod. (There are other players worth considering out there, like the Sony Walkman X, but I hope this gives you enough info to make an informed decision of the Zune vs players other than the iPod line as well.)

  53. The new Zune browser is surprisingly good, but not as good as the iPod’s. It works well, but isn’t as fast as Safari, and has a clunkier interface. If you occasionally plan on using the web browser that’s not an issue, but if you’re planning to browse the web alot from your PMP then the iPod’s larger screen and better browser may be important.

  54. If you’re still on the fence: grab your favorite earphones, head down to a Best Buy and ask to plug them into a Zune then an iPod and see which one sounds better to you, and which interface makes you smile more. Then you’ll know which is right for you.

  55. The Zune concentrates on being a Portable Media Player. Not a web browser. Not a game machine. Maybe in the future it’ll do even better in those areas, but for now it’s a fantastic way to organize and listen to your music and videos, and is without peer in that regard. The iPod’s strengths are its web browsing and apps. If those sound more compelling, perhaps it is your best choice.

  56. Zune and iPod: Most people compare the Zune to the Touch, but after seeing how slim and surprisingly small and light it is, I consider it to be a rather unique hybrid that combines qualities of both the Touch and the Nano. It’s very colorful and lovely OLED screen is slightly smaller than the touch screen, but the player itself feels quite a bit smaller and lighter. It weighs about 2/3 as much, and is noticeably smaller in width and height, while being just a hair thicker.

  57. Zune and iPod: Most people compare the Zune to the Touch, but after seeing how slim and surprisingly small and light it is, I consider it to be a rather unique hybrid that combines qualities of both the Touch and the Nano. It’s very colorful and lovely OLED screen is slightly smaller than the touch screen, but the player itself feels quite a bit smaller and lighter. It weighs about 2/3 as much, and is noticeably smaller in width and height, while being just a hair thicker.

  58. The Zune concentrates on being a Portable Media Player. Not a web browser. Not a game machine. Maybe in the future it’ll do even better in those areas, but for now it’s a fantastic way to organize and listen to your music and videos, and is without peer in that regard. The iPod’s strengths are its web browsing and apps. If those sound more compelling, perhaps it is your best choice.

  59. If you’re still on the fence: grab your favorite earphones, head down to a Best Buy and ask to plug them into a Zune then an iPod and see which one sounds better to you, and which interface makes you smile more. Then you’ll know which is right for you.

  60. I’ll gear this review to 2 types of people: current Zune owners who are considering an upgrade, and people trying to decide between a Zune and an iPod. (There are other players worth considering out there, like the Sony Walkman X, but I hope this gives you enough info to make an informed decision of the Zune vs players other than the iPod line as well.)

  61. This is getting a bit more subjective, but I much prefer the Zune Marketplace. The interface is colorful, has more flair, and some cool features like ‘Mixview’ that let you quickly see related albums, songs, or other users related to what you’re listening to. Clicking on one of those will center on that item, and another set of “neighbors” will come into view, allowing you to navigate around exploring by similar artists, songs, or users. Speaking of users, the Zune “Social” is also great fun, letting you find others with shared tastes and becoming friends with them. You then can listen to a playlist created based on an amalgamation of what all your friends are listening to, which is also enjoyable. Those concerned with privacy will be relieved to know you can prevent the public from seeing your personal listening habits if you so choose.

  62. I’ll gear this review to 2 types of people: current Zune owners who are considering an upgrade, and people trying to decide between a Zune and an iPod. (There are other players worth considering out there, like the Sony Walkman X, but I hope this gives you enough info to make an informed decision of the Zune vs players other than the iPod line as well.)

  63. Between me and my husband we’ve owned more MP3 players over the years than I can count, including Sansas, iRivers, iPods (classic & touch), the Ibiza Rhapsody, etc. But, the last few years I’ve settled down to one line of players. Why? Because I was happy to discover how well-designed and fun to use the underappreciated (and widely mocked) Zunes are.

  64. Hands down, Apple’s app store wins by a mile. It’s a huge selection of all sorts of apps vs a rather sad selection of a handful for Zune. Microsoft has plans, especially in the realm of games, but I’m not sure I’d want to bet on the future if this aspect is important to you. The iPod is a much better choice in that case.

  65. The Zune concentrates on being a Portable Media Player. Not a web browser. Not a game machine. Maybe in the future it’ll do even better in those areas, but for now it’s a fantastic way to organize and listen to your music and videos, and is without peer in that regard. The iPod’s strengths are its web browsing and apps. If those sound more compelling, perhaps it is your best choice.

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